The LGBT community would be nothing were it not for the many and varied grassroots efforts which have sprung up throughout our history, spurring us forward in the name of equality. While our national organizations may serve a purpose in terms of presence and lobbying, in my view, most of the monumental changes have occurred as the result of groups outside the mainstream. Whether it be Lt. Dan Choi and GetEqual helping to bring about an end to DADT, or ACT-UP in demanding resources and awareness during the AIDS epidemic, or the small but laser-like focus of the American Foundation for Equal Rights in working to bring marriage equality to California, these smaller groups have often been able to affect change where our national organizations can’t–or won’t.
I came of age during the days of Queer Nation and ACT-UP, and every rally, march, or benefit I’ve attended or organized has helped instill in me the belief that power, indeed, lies with the people. Last year’s Occupy movement further reinforced that conviction: on a local level, a band of committed individuals can move mountains.
In February, I wrote about a planned “2012 Worldwide LGBT Civil Rights March”, slated for April 21. The idea for the march had sprung from a facebook group called Let’s Reach 1 Million People Campaign, and the group’s founder and lead organizer, Joseph C. Knudson, asked if I would write an article about their efforts. I agreed, but as I began to look more closely at the event, I realized that I couldn’t deliver the promotional piece they’d desired. The article, What if They Threw a Worldwide LGBT Equality March, and No One Came?, noted my concerns around the planning associated with the effort, and questioned if the event was truly designed for success.
The article prompted a firestorm of protest in the comment sections on both Huffington Post and Bilerico Project, primarily from those organizing the event, and included accusations of inaccuracies, questions about my motives, personal attacks, and even resulted in a rant about me on Knudson’s blog. And yet, despite each of their energetic volleys, the questions I raised were never fully answered by the event organizers.
Instead, I and others with questions were simply urged to read the group’s disclosure document, as if the answers to each of our varied questions could be found in that single document. While some have speculated that this event was simply a promotional effort, designed to draw attention to a book Knudson had written, it was assured time and again that the Worldwide LGBT Equality March had no connection to his personal endeavors. But where, you might ask, is the group’s disclosure document located? Not on their website, as one would expect. Instead, a link redirects you to Knudson’s own site, where the document is posted beneath links to his book trailer, author page, and book press release. A minor point, perhaps, but hardly the kind of thing which eases concerns about either his motivation or the separation between the two endeavors.
As I wrote previously, this world would look vastly different were it not for the countless varied contributions of LGBT folks. Help me educate and change hearts and minds by following me on Twitter.com/edwards-stout and retweeting my #rethinkgay #imagineworldwithout tweets.
Together, we can make the world a better placeImagine the world without the Sistine Chapel… Michelangelo = Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout
Imagine the world without the art of Francis Bacon… Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout
Imagine the 80’s without the song TAINTED LOVE… Soft Cell lead Marc Almond = Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout
Imagine the world without the film GIANT… Writer Edna Ferber and star Rock Hudson = Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout
Imagine the roaring 20’s without Josephine Baker and her banana dress… Bi. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout
Imagine the world without the MONA LISA… DaVinci = Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout
Imagine the cabaret world without the singing and style of Bobby Short… Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout
Imagine Olympic diving without Greg Louganis @greglouganis or Matthew Mitcham @matthew_mitcham … Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout
Imagine the world without the poetry of Lord Byron… Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout
Imagine the world without NIGHT AND DAY… Cole Porter = Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout
Imagine Robert Schuler without the Crystal Cathedral… Architect Philip Johnson = Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout
Imagine the world without REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE. James Dean and Sal Mineo reportedly were gay… #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout
Imagine tennis without legends Billie Jean King or Martina Navratilova… Lesbian.#rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout
Imagine the world without civil rights leader Bayard Rustin… Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout
Imagine the world without “West Side Story”-Entire creative team was gay! #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout
Imagine SILENCE OF THE LAMBS without Jodie Foster… Lesbian. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout
Imagine the world without AMADEUS… Lead Tom Hulce = Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout
Imagine the holidays without THE NUTCRACKER SUITE… Composer Tchaikovsky = Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout
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